Thursday, December 10, 2015

Lost Stars

Lost Stars (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens)Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Many of the major events of the original Star Wars trilogy are experienced through two childhood friends, Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell. Ciena and Thane are life long friends who find themselves on opposite sides of war.

Lost Stars covers the lives of Ciena and Thane who happen to have been born the same time as the Empire. Their story starts at age 8 and continues on until after the end of Return of the Jedi. The story was good, but I was expecting more.

The biggest surprise I experienced in this story was seeing how people could defend the Empire. I understand that there are two sides to every story, but once the Empire blew up a highly inhabited planet because it's leaders were traitors to the Empire, I couldn't believe anyone could continue defending it.

Thane and Ciena started off as really interesting down to Earth characters. It was easy to care for each of them despite their faults until Ciena became the dumbest woman in the history of the world, even dumber than Lois Lane taking forever to realize Clark Kent is Superman...who knew glasses were all it would take to escape an investigative reporter and co-worker's attention. Ciena comes up for rationalization after rationalization for why the Empire is good even after witnessing it destroying a planet and a number of other atrocities it committed. She refuses to break her oath because her sense of honor is more important than actual people's lives...except Thane's. Thane was surprisingly the most patient loving man as he kept fighting for Ciena despite her being the enemy and working for the Devil Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and the Empire.

It was somewhat strange reading all these events through the new characters eyes because I knew the outcome of almost everything in the book. The only thing I didn't know was how events would effect Thane and Ciena.

Lost Stars was a good book that provided a fresh perspective on the original trilogy and it's effect on individuals.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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All You Need Is Kill

All You Need Is KillAll You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So what do you get when you mix Groundhog Day, a war manga, and Tony Stark's suit of armor he made in a cave? You get All You Need Is Kill. Keiji Kiriya is stuck in a loop fighting aliens to the death...well to his death. Keiji has died during each of his 158 tries to get out of the loop. Bill Murray's character in Groundhog Day had it way easier than Keiji Kiriya.

For me All You Need Is Kill is a book with an interesting concept that falls short once Rita Vrataski gets her own point of view. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't explain any more then saying the author should've never tried to explain how the loops work. Perhaps that isn't fair, the best way to say it is don't explain something you don't fully understand. Time travel scenarios can be as messy and annoying as stepping in poop and tracking it all around your home. Let's just say the author was likely walking around a farm with serious nasal congestion before he headed home.

The story itself was intriguing prior to the Vrataski info dump. Poor Keiji has walked into a reasonable facsimile of hell. After the inevitable attempts to run away and commit suicide to escape the loops, Keiji decides to train his mind to help him win the battle. This part was enjoyable to see how he had learned to navigate his day and the battle with the proficient ease of 100 plus attempts.

All I Need Is Kill felt like a case of unfulfilled potential. Perhaps I'll have to watch the movie to find out if they did a better job utilizing the concept.

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